Short Sale Specialists

5 IMPORTANT TAX TIPS FOR 2011

Mar 11, 2011


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Form 1040

There are many advantages to be a homeowner, but perhaps one of the most lucrative ones would be tax deductions. However, it is important to know what you are entitled to, so that you do not miss out on any of the benefits.

Please read below for Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s tax tips, tricks, traps for 2011:

1. You Have to Itemize Your Return to Claim Your Deductions

It came out that nearly 40% of homeowners lose out on their major tax advantages every year when they fail to itemize their income taxes. If you own a home and otherwise have a fairly simple return, it might be tempting just to take the standard deduction – and if your mortgage, property taxes and income are low enough, the standard deduction might outweigh your homeowners’ deductions. But you’ll never know if you’re losing out on the tax advantages of itemizing unless you try; before you grab a pen and start filling in that 1040-EZ grab those forms from your mortgage company and answer the questions on tax software like TurboTax, which will automatically do the math on whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction will result in the lowest tax bill – or the highest tax refund – for you.

2. Plan Ahead and Be Strategic When Taking a Home Office Deduction

According to the Small Business Administration, the average home office deduction is $3,686 – multiply that by your tax bracket – 15%, 20%, 30% or whatever it is, and that’s what you’ll save on your taxes by writing off your home office. Know, though, that the space you designate as your home office cannot be exempted from capital gains tax when you sell your home later. The $250,000 (single)/ $500,000 (married filing jointly) income tax exemption for capital gains is only good on your personal residence, after all – not including any space in your home you’ve claimed as your tax-advantaged office. If you foresee selling your home for much more than you bought it in the future, near or far, discuss this with your tax preparer to see if the few hundred bucks you save is worth the capital gains complication later.

3. Tax Relief for Loan Modifications, Short Sales and Foreclosures

Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007, the IRS is currently not charging income taxes on CODI incurred through a loan mod, short sale or foreclosure on most primary residences through 2012

4. Project the Income Tax Consequences of a Refinance or Property Tax Appeal

Homeowners everywhere are working on applying for a lower property tax bill on the basis of the last few years’ decline in their home’s value. Those who have equity have flocked en masse to refinance their 7% home loans into the 4% to 5% rates of the last few months. These strategies offer some of the heftiest household savings out there for the corresponding investment in time and money they take. But here’s a caveat for savvy homeowners who slash these costs: remember that property taxes and mortgage interest, the very costs you’re minimizing, are also the basis for the major tax benefits of being a homeowner. So plan ahead for your income tax deductions to go down along with your taxes and interest.

5. Don’t Forget Those Closing Costs

If you bought or refinanced your home in 2010, you may be so focused on your mortgage interest and property tax deductions that you forget all about your closing costs. Any origination fees or discount points that were paid to your mortgage lender at closing are tax deductible on your 2010 return, get this – even if the seller paid your closing costs. If you can’t figure out exactly what you paid, look for your HUD-1 settlement statement, that legal sized paper full of line item credits and debits that you should have received from your escrow provider or title attorney at, or just after, closing. Can’t find it? Drop your real estate agent or mortgage broker an email; they can usually get a copy to you quickly.

Note: This post first appeared on WalletPop.com on 2.28.2011.

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San Diego County Home Values Rising ?

Mar 7, 2011


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Downtown San Diego

Image via Wikipedia

Many San Diego homeowners’ have stood by and watched as the real estate market has taken some tumultuous turns since 2007. There have been dramatic decreases in the value of homes and this has left many San Diego county locals upside down in their investments, but has also created more opportunity for home purchases. The questions on everyone’s mind now are what is going to happen with the values this year? Have we reached the bottom of the market yet ? Are prices going to continue to decrease?

There are numerous factors that are going to play into the values of homes this year. A few of which are how many homes are foreclosed on by the lenders, how many of the foreclosed homes come onto the market, and interest rates.  According to an article in the North County Times “HOUSING: Fannie Mae chief optimistic about region” San Diego County was not affected to the same extremes as Riverside county.  In the article Eric Wolff quotes Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams when he states, “The California housing market will continue to slide this year, but San Diego County will go against the grain and see price gains”.

According to City News Service, “The number of houses and condominiums sold in San Diego County in 2010 was lower than in 2009, but the median sales price increased, according to figures released today [Monday, January 10, 2011] by the San Diego Association of Realtors”.

Vero Real Estate’s VeroForecast accumulated some promising data that would support San Diego pricing market taking a step in the right direction.

  • San Diego, California ranks as one of the top 5 strongest U.S. housing market from 12/2010 to 12/2011.
  • Approximately 40% of all major metro areas are forecasted to appreciate over the next 12 months.
  • Approximately 60% of all major metro areas are forecasted to appreciate over the next 12 – 24 months.

Certainly, not a rapid increase, but definitely the market is taking gradual steps in the right direction.

We are hopeful that the positive trends that began last year will continue in 2011, as homes remain affordable and there is still a lot of inventory available for buyers.

If you want to read all of the articles mentioned above please see below link:

http://www.sandiego.com/news/san-diego-home-sales-median-price-up

http://www.nctimes.com/business/article_bef5ebd5-9c8b-5c34-ae1e-a0c7ac708e6b.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate

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Born Survivors 1930-1979

Feb 3, 2011


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Student pledging to the flag, 1899.

Image via Wikipedia

To Those of Us Born
1930 – 1979 

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE
1930′s, 40′s, 50′s,
60′s and 70′s!! 

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. 

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn’t get tested for diabetes. 

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints. 

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes,
we had baseball caps
not helmets on our heads. 

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren’t overweight.. WHY?
Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on..
No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill,
only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo’s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s,
no surround-sound or CD’s,
no cell phones,
no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms and mud pies
made from dirt, and
the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn’t had to learn
to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best
risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?
~
The quote of the month is by
Jay Leno:
‘With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?’
For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us…go ahead and delete this.
For the rest of us…please share!!

Courtesy of an e-mail blast I received today! Unknown writer

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2011 Foreclosure mess… Worst year yet?

Jan 19, 2011


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Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...
Image via Wikipedia

Due to the dramatic decrease in property values over the last three years millions of Americans have found themselves in an increasingly hopeless situation. The American dream of one’s home being the most lucrative investment seems long gone. Many homeowner‘s find themselves wondering which course of action is the quickest road to financial recovery. As a responsible adult which is the best financial decision for your family?? Should you consider letting your home go risking your credit history of faithfully making all your payments on time, will you qualify for a loan modification, or would it be best to continue making payments even though your home is underwater and hope for the best ? Continue reading

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7 ways to improve your credit

Oct 8, 2010


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credit repair

What You Can Do to Improve Your Credit

Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are big factors in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what your loan terms will be. So, keep your credit score high by doing the following:

1. Check for and correct any errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management. This means running your own credit often to see what’s new and what’s not supposed to be on your report…. Continue reading

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